Book Review: A World Worth Seeing by Brian Nelson

Judging by the content of this book, Brian Nelson is a well traveled man and has visited just about every country, even some that a lot of people would avoid; Syria (he did this before the war), North Korea and Afghanistan. Somehow, in the course of less than 100 pages, he summarizes his adventures, which is a feat in itself. It reminded me of the Reduced Shakespeare Theater Company who give a complete rendition of the complete works of William Shakespeare in 90 minutes. Like their performance Nelson’s book leaves you a little out of breath. I managed to read the whole book in a couple of evenings without much problem.

The first section is preamble of what is to come in the rest of the book. Before launching into a whistle stop description of a gallop around the globe, Nelson delivers a chapter on world traveling 101. I would consider myself a seasoned traveler and I did pick up a couple of useful snippets for use on future trips. This section was my favorite in the book.

The last five chapters of the book are largely broken down into broad geographic regions; North & South America, Australia and the Pacific Islands, Europe, Asia & the Middle East and Africa. Nelson systematically describes his adventures in the countries of each region, often in only a couple of sentences. I understand that he is trying to be brief but it doesn’t really do much to whet your appetite for visiting these places. It might have been better to take up a few more pages to get potential travelers excited.

So, in summary “A World Worth Seeing” is a very quick and easy read. My concern is that I am not quite sure what audience Nelson is trying to reach. For seasoned, well traveled adventurers there is not much to learn from this book. I can only assume the target audience for this book are people with wanderlust planning an escape from their current lives to enter a brave new world of global exploration. For these people the 101 section could be useful, but would have benefited from more detail, structure and guidance. As for the final 5 chapters I am not sure what this audience would take from it. For the beginner traveler the break neck pace of Nelson’s story telling of his journeys could make the process of travel appear daunting, which I assume was not his intention.

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